Fat-Shaming in Clothing


In this Business Insider article posted just yesterday, Mallory Schlossberg lambasts Wish.com’s offensive plus-size apparel advertisement. Noting that clothing shopping is “notoriously different for curvy women” already, she suggests that online shopping has presented larger women with a safe and reliable retail environment– until now. Wish’s ad shows a thin woman standing in one leg of a pair of plus-size shorts, holding the excess waist room far out to the side to exaggerate its bagginess on her frame. Imagine marketing skinny jeans to thinner people by showing a larger person trying to fit in them. It’s incredibly offensive to persons of size in both cases; note that due to widespread social stigmas even the reverse of Wish’s fat-shaming ad would still be fat-shaming.

In “What is Health at Every Size?,” Deb Burgard argues that “weight discrimination and stigma” may very well be the “primary health threat” to fat people (Burgard 45). The seriousness of this claim is illustrated by the fact that the weight loss industry commands $58.6 annually, whereas plus-size clothing is worth a mere $17.5 billion per year (Wann 9, Schlossberg). If fat-shaming weren’t so ubiquitous, perhaps clothing, a basic necessity for all people, would represent greater expenditures than an spending on an industry devoted to upholding beauty norms and selling nonfunctional products. Moreover, it’s absurd that businesses are reluctant to cater to plus-size clothing shoppers when they’re shelling out so much for clothing each year.